In the aftermath of a Super Bowl win, backup-turned-starter-turned-backup Brock Osweiler said he wants to stay in Denver. The really question isn’t whether the Broncos want to keep him, but how badly.
On Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Vic Lombardi of Altitude Sports Network said that the Broncos: (1) don’t want to keep Peyton Manning; and (2) do want to keep Osweiler.
It’s easy to want to keep Osweiler. It’s potentially hard to keep him if/when someone else wants him even more. And with quarterback the only job in all of football where supply doesn’t meet demand, multiple teams could be willing to break the bank on Brock Osweiler.
Although enough wasn’t seen from him in 2015 to permit a conclusion that he will become a short-list franchise quarterback, Osweiler passed the eyeball test, with multiple strong performances including the engineering of a win over the Patriots in prime time despite trailing 21-7 in the fourth quarter. Subsequent great-first-half-bad-second-half struggles could be attributed to subpar coaching adjustments during intermission.
Regardless, for teams who need a quarterback and who aren’t picking in the top 10, Osweiler becomes a potential option. Especially since, coupled with a now-expected Manning retirement, bogarting Brock from the Broncos would leave them with no one at quarterback.
It likely won’t take $20 million per year to get Osweiler. At most, it ultimately will take an offer significantly greater than what the Broncos are willing to pay him. If the Broncos, for example, are budgeting $9 million per year for Osweiler, a $13 million per year offer from another team would definitely get his attention. (Those are just spitball numbers with no inside information. At all. Really. I mean it. I wasn’t winking as I typed it. Seriously.)
So who would pursue him? The Browns are perpetually desperate to find a franchise quarterback. Three other teams could be hoping to replicate the Denver great-defense-good-enough-offense formula: the Jets, Rams, and Texans.
Of those, the Texans are the most intriguing. Surely, owner Bob McNair (who hopes to break the Super Bowl hosting curse) is smoldering over the fact that former head coach Gary Kubiak and former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips won a Super Bowl in their first year with the Broncos, featuring a veteran quarterback the Texans didn’t want in 2012. Even if adding Osweiler to a potent defense anchored by J.J. Watt doesn’t push the Texans to the Super Bowl, it would help prevent Kubiak and Phillips winning a second Lombardi in the house Bob built.
“But Osweiler doesn’t really fit Bill O’Brien’s system!” some will say, with or without the exclamation point. McNair wouldn’t be bothered by that; good coaches adjust their systems to match the talents of their players. Kubiak, who couldn’t get it done in Houston, got it done in Denver with Osweiler. So McNair may conclude O’Brien should be able to do the same thing.
At this point, no one knows how it will play out. Within the next two weeks, the pieces will begin falling together in Indianapolis, when all teams and agents convene for a direct look at incoming players and widespread tampering regarding veterans due to hit the market in early March. Then, on March 7, Osweiler and the Broncos can officially find out what the price will be to keep Brock around.